Sunday, January 27, 2019

Dan Hoyle: "Border People" ☼ ☼ ☼ BANG

Dan Hoyle's 2006 tour de force "Tings dey Happen" took us to the oil fields of the Nigerian Delta. Written and performed brilliantly in spot-on Pidgin English, Hoyle presented a world to us that we had never seen before, about which we knew little. Since then, he has been traveling through America and writing about us. Sadly, we know a lot about this stuff. Hoyle's observations always ring true and they can be painful.

In his latest, "Border People," we hear from, among others, a black man in the projects who wears a sweater vest, a kid from Afghanistan who is graduating from a fancy prep school, into which he was accepted to provide "diversity;" we meet Larry who is tired of being hassled by police on the
Fourth of July, and López, a border patrol agent who longs to do comedy. The format of the show is one long-ish vignette about each character, followed by lights down and a few bars of music, leading to lights up and the next vignette.

We loved Larry and López. We felt for the lady who had come from Iraq and was embarrassed to eat chocolate cheesecake. We applauded the gay hermit/rancher in Southern Arizona who helped illegal immigrants when they showed up at his door. We were very impressed that Dan Hoyle speaks such excellent Spanish, especially after watching Mike Pence mumble incoherently about Venezuela.

With each new Dan Hoyle show we have a similar wish, which is that his characters would interact with each other, or at least have the narrator play a larger role. We love most of his characters, but we search for the center. Perhaps Dan Hoyle, a young man who travels around the country gathering information from people to put into a stage show --  could be featured in one of his vignettes. I'd like to see how López would handle the interview.

We never miss a Dan Hoyle show, and neither should you. He is unique. Also, we love his songs from previous shows. We can always use a little more guitar, sir.


With respect for seldomly-observed digital honesty, The San Francisco Theater Blog must admit that the Hoyles live on our block. You may take that into consideration when observing this rating for "Border People:" THREE STARS WITH A BANGLE OF PRAISE. Dan Hoyle's performance, the music and lighting, and the concept itself earn One Star each. The BANGLE is for Hoyle's comment about the Permanent Residency Card, which turns out to be neither permanent nor residential. And as López the border agent says, "We have to keep the door open, but how far can we open it?" López and Hoyle have defined America's problem. Now, what do we do about it?

The Marsh, San Francisco
1062 Valencia St.
Through Feb. 23
$25 or Pay What You Can

No comments: